Your Nutrisystem Getting Started Guide

Article posted in: Nutrisystem

Excited. Nervous. Cautiously optimistic. Do these words describe the way you’re feeling, now that your very first Nutrisystem shipment has been delivered to your door? It’s completely normal to be filled with nervous excitement. After all, the arrival of your first Nutrisystem box signifies the official first step toward a happier and healthier you! So, take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back, do a happy dance or call all your friends. Explore our Getting Started Guide below for tips on how to start your weight loss journey

Begin your weight loss journey on the right track with this Nutrisystem Getting Started Guide:

1. Clear Some Space

Wondering how to start your weight loss journey? The first thing you’ll want to do is to make some room in your pantry or freezer (depending on what you ordered) for all of your food. Choose a spot that’s easily accessible, preferably removed your family’s less healthy stash.

If your order includes ready-to-go foods, you don’t need to worry about refrigerating them—they’ve been sealed through a safe, “soft canning” process which locks in their nutrition and flavor. If your order includes frozen foods, you’ll want to place them in the freezer as soon as your delivery arrives to preserve both quality and taste.

Note: If you ordered frozen foods, these may arrive in a separate shipment from your Ready-to-Go foods. They will come in a cooler and are marked “Keep Frozen” on the label. If you receive your frozen foods first, wait to get started until you receive the non-frozen shipment. This will include your meal plan guide.

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2. Sort Your Stash

When the package arrives with your first month of meals and snacks, take the time to put away and organize your items. The meals and snacks are color-coded for your convenience: Breakfasts have yellow labels, lunches have blue labels, dinners have red labels and snacks have purple labels.

All of these items can safely be stored in your cabinets. If you ordered any frozen entrees, you will receive these items in a separate shipment and they will be marked “Frozen.” They have the same color coding and will need to be stored in your freezer. Keeping an organized kitchen will be helpful on those busy days you just want to grab and go!

The first week of the program is designed to reboot your body and kickstart your weight loss. You will receive a guide to help maximize your results. This first week includes Nutrisystem meals, snacks and shakes each day. Check out a sample menu here! > If you are on a personalized program, be sure to check the NuMi app for your recommended week one sample menu.

You will receive seven Nutrisystem® shakes to use as your morning snack during this first week. These are packed with protein to help keep you full and satisfied. We recommend spacing your meals and snacks about two to four hours apart. The only groceries you’ll need to add during this first week are at least four servings of non-starchy veggies. (Confused about your first week? Click here for a complete overview >)

*Please note that this separate Week 1 is not included with our Diabetes plan due to the calorie restrictions.

Once you finish your first week, you will move into your meal plan for week two and beyond. The biggest difference is that you will add in more grocery additions, like PowerFuels, SmartCarbs and Extras (more on these later!). You’ll also get more flexibility with Flex meals and snacks.

Click here to learn more about week two and beyond! >

Here is an overview of what you might eat once you’ve completed your first week:

  • Any Nutrisystem Breakfast
  • Any Nutrisystem Lunch
  • Any Nutrisystem Dinner
  • Any Nutrisystem Snack (men, you will enjoy two Nutrisystem snacks per day)
  • Snacks you prepare (women prepare two snacks, men prepare one)
  • At least four servings of non-starchy veggies throughout the day
  • At least 64 ounces of water

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3. Get Familiar with the Grocery Guide

While Nutrisystem has most of your meals and snacks covered, once you are done your first week, you will get to add in some of your favorite grocery additions. In fact, it’s part of the program. Check out our Grocery Guide below to get a sense of what types of foods you can enjoy.

Click here for the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide! >

You can also learn about how to estimate grocery addition portion sizes here. Below is a general overview of what you should be eating in addition to your Nutrisystem foods each day:


You’ll want to add in lots of veggies—at least four servings a day. Generally speaking, one serving is a half-cup cooked or one cup raw of non-starchy veggies (think leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, peppers). Try loading up on veggie-heavy salads, sides, smoothies and snacks. You can also incorporate vegetables into your Nutrisystem dishes. For some great ideas on how to do this, check out our Recipe section.


You’ll notice that the Grocery Guide includes something called PowerFuels. This term refers to high-quality proteins and healthy fats, like lean meats, fish, low-fat yogurt and nuts. Get a more in-depth explanation of PowerFuels here.


SmartCarbs are nutrient-rich carbohydrates, which are packed with fiber. Examples of these include fruit, starchy veggies (think corn, black beans and sweet potatoes), and whole grains. Need more explanation about SmartCarbs? Click here.

Free Foods

These are optional foods that contain fewer than 10 calories per serving. These include add-ons that enhance flavor, like vinegar, spices, herbs and broth. You can have as many Free Foods as you’d like. Some staple free foods you may want to consider having on hand include cinnamon (great to add to apple slices, sweet potatoes or your Nutrisystem oatmeal), black pepper (great on everything!), lemon juice, salsa and hot sauce.


This term refers to mealtime add-ons that are a little higher in calories than the Free Foods; they typically clock in at 11-35 calories per serving. These include things like popcorn, dressings, honey, ketchup, mayo, etc. You’ll just want to limit your Extras to three servings per day. Your Grocery Guide does a great job of explaining what a serving size looks like for common Extras.

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4. Get the 411 on Flex Meals

After your first week, you’ll get to try your hand at preparing two Flex breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks in place of your Nutrisystem meals and snacks each week. This is great practice for life after Nutrisystem. To make sure you’re staying on track toward your goals, it’s important that these meals still follow certain guidelines. Check out the graph below for a quick overview of what your Flex meals should contain. Please note that if you are on Uniquely Yours Max+ and using NuMi SmartAdapt, these numbers will not apply to you. Find your specific PowerFuel and SmartCarb goals in the NuMi app.

Getting started with Nutrisystem flex meals

To make things easier on you, we have a whole section in our Recipes tab right here on The Leaf that’s dedicated to Flex Meal recipes. Just click here to check out some of our delicious meals and snacks >

5. Hit the Store

Now that you’ve gotten the Grocery Guide and Flex meals figured out, it’s time to hit the supermarket for all of your essentials. Grab some fruit and starchy veggies, whole grains and beans to cover your SmartCarb needs, and some non-starchy veggies for your Vegetables. Frozen fruits and veggies are great as well, so if grabbing bags of frozen produce is easier for you, by all means, go ahead! Just be sure to avoid options that include added sugars or sauces, as they can add unwanted sugar, fat and calories.

You may want to think about how you plan to eat your produce. If you’re making smoothies, do you need other ingredients, like fat-free milk or almond milk? If you’re going to prepare a week’s worth of mason jar salads, do you need jars or salad dressing? We suggest heading to the store at an off-peak time so you have time to peruse the aisles. Bring along your Grocery Guide so you can determine which items will work best. Even easier? Figure out what PowerFuels, SmartCarbs, Vegetables, etc. you’d like to purchase before you go shopping, and hit the store with a Nutrisystem-friendly grocery list in hand.

6. Measure Up

The scale doesn’t always tell the whole story. Grab a tape measure and write down your stats today, then log your measurements in NuMi, our free online tracker. Documenting your weight is a great way to hold yourself accountable and doing it in NuMi will give you a great visual of your success.

Need some guidance on how to measure yourself? Check out the article below for everything you need to know.

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7. Start Tracking

Research shows that tracking your food, activity and weight can help you lose more weight. Maximize your results by downloading our free tracking app, NuMi. Here, you’ll be able to start logging your food, drinks, activity, weight and more. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable, and also a fun way to visually track your progress.

And don’t forget to bookmark this Getting Started Guide on your computer so you can consult it any time you have questions about your program!

*Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence.

*IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Continuing this meal plan for more than one week in any consecutive four-week period may lead to health complications and is not recommended. If you have diabetes, are under 18 years of age, are pregnant or a nursing mother, or are following a specialized diet for health issues, you may not use this meal plan. Please consult with your physician before beginning Your First Week on Nutrisystem or any other weight loss program. Please be sure to eat all of the food that’s recommended for this program. Failure to follow the program protocol and eat all recommended food may result in developing health complications.